Antag

meaning and definition

Jump to section

    What does antag mean?

    Antag can mean antagonist, antagonism, or antagonistic. It refers to a style of roleplaying where a character takes on an antagonistic role or engages in antagonistic behavior.

    Antag RP can include being a villain, rival, or any kind of character whose goals and actions oppose those of other player characters.

    Antag roles are an important source of conflict and often drive narratives in roleplaying games, especially in text-based settings like MUDs, MUSHes, and play-by-post games.

    A brief history of the term

    Antagonistic gameplay traces its roots to the early days of text-based roleplaying, where players needed a term for characters who opposed the main characters’ goals.

    In the eras of MUDs and early MMORPGs, antag RP played a significant role in shaping narratives and player interactions. These platforms allowed for more complex and nuanced storytelling, where players could embody characters with diverse motivations, including those of antagonists.

    As roleplaying games diversified, antag RP expanded to include not just individual characters but also broader forces of opposition.

    Modern usage

    Today, the term is primarily used in games and gaming communities that focus on storytelling and narrative depth, where antagonists are central to the roleplaying experience. These settings offer players the opportunity to explore different perspectives and enrich the story by adding conflict and challenge.

    Types of games that use the term “antag” include but are not limited to:

    MUD, MUSH, MMORPG, Chat RPG, Social media RPG, PbP, and their respective communities.


    Antag FAQs

    What is the difference between an antag and a protag?

    The main difference between an antag and a protag lies in their roles within the story. While a protagonist is typically the main character around whom the story revolves, an antagonist is a character who opposes the protagonist, creating conflict and driving the narrative forward.

    Can a character be both an antag and a protag?

    Yes, a character can be both an antagonist and a protagonist, especially in more complex narratives found in multiplayer roleplaying games.

    This usually happens when a character has conflicting interests or faces moral dilemmas, leading them to act in opposition to some characters while in alignment with others.

    How do you effectively roleplay an antag character?

    To effectively roleplay an antag character, it’s important to understand your character’s motivations and goals, and how they conflict with those of other characters.

    It’s also important to maintain balance, ensuring that your character’s actions contribute to the story without overshadowing other players’ experiences.

    Are antags always villains?

    No, antags are not always villains. They can be rivals, antiheroes, competitors, or any character with opposing goals or views.

    The key aspect is their role in creating conflict, not necessarily their moral alignment.

    How can I create a balanced antag character?

    To create a balanced antagonist, develop their motivations and backstory, ensuring they have clear, understandable reasons for their actions.

    Give them strengths and weaknesses, avoid making them a Gary Sue, and ensure their challenges are meaningful to the plot. They should be a credible threat to the protagonist but not invincible.

    How are antags chosen in a roleplaying game?

    Antags can be chosen in various ways, depending on the game. They might be assigned by the game master, chosen by players through consensus, or emerge naturally from the story based on characters’ actions and decisions.

    In many roleplaying games, the player may decide whether to play a character that takes an antagonistic approach, based on the game’s setting and existing characters. Some types of games, such as RPIs, encourage conflict.

    Myths about antags

    A common misconception is that antags are always the villains or inherently negative characters. In reality, antags can range from rivals and anti-heroes to characters with opposing but valid viewpoints. They play essential roles in creating engaging and dynamic narratives, not just by opposing protagonists but by adding depth and complexity to the story.

    Another myth is that players of antagonistic characters are antagonistic or seek conflict in real life. This is not true, as the person behind the screen can have a markedly different personality and approach from their character.

    Antag examples

    • In a fantasy game, an antag might be a dark sorcerer seeking to overthrow the kingdom, directly opposing the player characters who are trying to protect it.
    • In a science fiction play-by-post, an antag could be a rival space captain competing for the same resources as the player characters.
    • In a noir-themed MUD, an antag might be the mastermind criminal working against the player characters, who are detectives trying to solve the case.
    • In a political intrigue MUSH, an antag could be a power-hungry noble scheming against the king or queen who is trying to secure peace and justice.

    Related terms